FEATURE: Who the Hatters will be facing in the Championship this season

Martin O'Neill is in charge at Nottingham Forest
Martin O'Neill is in charge at Nottingham Forest

With the Championship fixtures announced tomorrow morning, it’s time to take a look at just who the Hatters will be facing in the second tier of English football next season.

Barnsley

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa

Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa

Manager: Daniel Stendel

Last season: 2nd in League One

Manager Daniel Stendel had a great season, leading the Tykes back to the Championship at the first attempt.

Has already been busy, bringing in Luke Thomas, plus Mike-Steven Bahre, while Cameron McGeehan has signed a new year, although they missed out on winger Ryan Hedges, who went to Aberdeen.

Birmingham City

Manager: Pep Clotet

Last season: 17th in the Championship

Garry Monk saw his 15-month stint as manager ended yesterday when he was sacked.

Speculation had been rife due to apparent issues with the swap deal that took forward Jota to Aston Villa and Gary Gardner back to the Blues.

City, who have placed Pep Clotet in temporary charge, had finished 17th after being deducted nine points for breaching EFL profitability and sustainability rules.

Blackburn Rovers

Manager: Tony Mowbray

Last season: 15th in the Championship

After coming up from League One the previous season, Rovers made a decent fist of life in the Championship.

Much will depend on Bradley Dack and Danny Graham again this term, while the club are in talks with former Manchester City and Everton player Jack Rodwell after he had his contract cancelled by Sunderland.

Brentford

Manager: Thomas Frank

Last season: 11th in the Championship.

Brentford have already been busy in the transfer market as they look to build on a promising season finishing half-way up the league.

Out have gone former Chelsea midfielder Josh McEachran, along with Lewis Macleod and defender Moses Odubajo to name three.

They have made one acquisition already, with Danish midfielder Christian Norgaard joining from Italian club Fiorentina.

Bristol City

Manager: Lee Johnson

Last season: 8th in the Championship.

After finishing in the top 10 last year, the Robins rewarded manager Lee Johnson, who has been in charge since February 2016, with a new four year contract.

Off the field, Keith Dawe has stepped down as chairman, replaced by Jon Lansdown, son of the owner Steve.

Striker Mo Eisa, once prolific for Cheltenham Town has departed too, snapped up by Peterborough for a club record fee.

Cardiff City


Manager: Neil Warnock

Last season: 18th in the Premier League

Surely one of the favourites to go straight back up after just one season in the Premier League under the experienced Neil Warnock.

Already agreed a fee for Rotherham United’s Will Vaulks, although they have released Kadeem Harris and Aron Gunnarsson.

Charlton Athletic

Manager: Lee Bowyer

Last season: 3rd in League One

It’s been a crazy few days at the Valley with Lee Bowyer on the verge of leaving after being unable to agree a contract extension and then less than 24 hours later signing a new deal.

Has brought in striker Macauley Bonne from Leyton Orient and can now fully concentrate on the campaign ahead with off-field issues coming to a successful conclusion.

Derby County

Manager: Frank Lampard

Last season: 6th in the Championship

A real will he, won’t he saga surrounding boss Frank Lampard as he is continually linked with the vacancy at former club Chelsea.

Rams are obviously hoping he stays put to build on a highly impressive first season where they were just one game away from the Premier League, beaten by Aston Villa in the play-off final.

Fulham

Manager: Scott Parker

Last season: 19th in the Premier League

Former player Scott Parker has the chance to lead Fulham back into the big time having been given the permanent job despite being unable to save the Cottagers from relegation.

Has been boosted by news that the long-serving and popular Tom Cairney has signed a new deal.

Huddersfield Town

Manager: Jan Siewert

Last season: 20th in the Premier League

Extremely difficult season in the top flight as they were relegated with just 16 points to their name, and have since seen goalkeeper Jonas Lossl leave for Everton.

Terriers have already added to their back-line which conceded 76 goals though with the experienced former Bournemouth and Aston Villa centre half Tommy Elphick signing up.

Hull City

Manager: Nigel Adkins (for now).

Last season: 13th in the Championship

Hull will be searching for a new manager at the end of the month as Nigel Adkins will leave his role after rejecting a new deal due to ‘other contractual terms’ despite agreeing a salary and budget.

The new boss will need to making bringing players in his first assignment with eight leaving, including Liam Ridgewell and Will Keane.

Leeds United

Manager: Marcelo Bielsa

Last season: 3rd in Championship

Looked for all the world as if they were going to return to the Premier League after a superb start to the season, including putting together a seven game winning run.

However, a poor second half meant the Whites were eventually pipped to promotion by Norwich and Sheffield United.

Had a chance in the play-offs too, winning 1-0 at Derby in the first leg and leading in the second game, only to lose 4-3 on aggregate.

Middlesbrough

Manager: Jonathan Woodgate.

Last season: 7th in the Championship.

After failing to win promotion last term, Boro dispensed with the services of boss Tony Pulis, deciding to give former defender Jonathan Woodgate his first managerial role.

The ex-Real Madrid and England man has also brought Robbie Keane with him too and will take over a squad that saw long serving winger Stewart Downing released at the end of the season.

Millwall

Manager: Neil Harris

Last season: 21st in the Championship

Manager Neil Harris has talked of a squad overhaul needed at the New Den after the Lions just about stayed up last term, four points clear of the dotted line.

A new goalkeeper will be top of the list, with David Martin signing for West Ham, while fellow stopper Jordan Archer was released as was veteran forward Steve Morison.

Nottingham Forest

Manager: Martin O’Neill.

Last season: 9th in the Championship

Boasting one of the most experienced managers in the division with former Republic of Ireland and Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill in charge, Forest came close to the play-offs last term.

They will want to be pushing for that top six spot this time around and have made space in their squad for additions by releasing Northern Ireland forward Jamie Ward and goalkeeper Stephen Henderson.

Preston North End

Manager: Alex Neil

Last season: 14th in the Championship

There’s some stability at Deepdale for the time being with manager Alex Neil signing a new three year deal in April after a fine impact since taking over in July 2017.

Neil will have to do some rebuilding of the squad, having let six players go, including Ben Pringle.

QPR

Manager: Mark Warburton

Last season: 19th in the Championship

Yet another club who are under new management this season with Mark Warbuton taking over last month.

Has already been active in the window, bringing Livingston keeper Liam Kelly and Rangers defender Lee Wallace in, while releasing former Luton loanee Alex Baptiste.

Reading

Manager: José Manuel Gomes

Last season: 20th in the Championship

Only just avoided going down last season, as boss Jose Manuel Gomes, who took over in December, will need to strengthen his squad, particularly in defence having seen John O’Shea retire, while the experienced Paul McShane was released.

Sheffield Wednesday

Manager: Steve Bruce

Last season: 12th in the Championship.

Manager Steve Bruce propelled the Owls to mid-table safety after taking over mid-season.

Taken some tough decisions since, allowing George Boyd and Gary Hooper to leave the club, while Daniel Pudil and Marco Matias are on their way too.

Stoke City

Manager: Nathan Jones

Last season: 16th in the Championship.

The game that Town fans are most looking out for with former boss Nathan Jones now in charge.

He might be without keeper Jack Butland, as the England stopper is tipped with a move back to the Premier League, while Joe Allen could be on the move too.

After 22 draws last season, chairman Peter Coates has warned his manager that more victories are essential to reach their target of a top six berth.

Swansea City

Manager: Steve Cooper.

Last season: 10th in the Championship.

It’s been a summer of upheaval at the Liberty with first manager Graham Potter going to Brighton and then winger Daniel James sold to Manchester United for £15m.

The Swans have a new man a the helm now, with Steve Cooper in charge, the 39-year-old best known for leading England U17s to World Cup victory in 2017.

Wigan Athletic

Manager: Paul Cook.

Last season: 18th in the Championship

Boss Paul Cook faces a real battle to keep star player Nick Powell at the club, as the midfielder has been offered new terms.

Released six players though, including Luton signing Callum McManaman and also former Manchester United midfielder Darron Gibson, with James Vaughan and Jonas Olsson also moving on.

West Bromwich Albion

Manager: Slaven Bilic

Last season: 4th in the Championship

The Baggies appointed former West Ham and Croatia boss Slaven Bilic as the man to succeed Darren Moore who left in March, along with assistant and now Luton chief Graeme Jones.

Had made it to the play-offs under coach Jimmy Shan only to lose to Aston Villa and have since released a host of experienced players like Gareth Barry and Wes Hoolahan, also confirming that they won’t be signing Dwight Gayle due to his 'Premier League salary.'